Recently released Australian Bureau of Statistics inflation (CPI) data shows that in the six months to the end of 2018, the average cost of child care for Australian families fell by 10.4 percent, the largest fall in child care costs in a decade.
Federal Minister for Education Dan Tehan said the Government was providing ‘record funding and greater support to families’ as part of its new Child Care Package, including the Child Care Subsidy.
“"The Morrison Government’s child care reforms are leaving more dollars in the pockets of Australian families, which we can afford to do because we’re keeping our economy strong,” he said.
One of the biggest improvements was for non-working families whose children were attending preschool programs in long day care in the year before school. The maximum assistance the family could receive rose from $113.52 per week to $180.08 per week, a significant increase.
This is because all families enrolled with the child enrolled in a centre-based early learning program in the year before school can receive up to 36 hours a fortnight of Child Care Subsidy and be exempt from the activity test.
Goodstart Early Learning advocacy manager John Cherry said the preschool exemption, combined with Goodstart’s flexible sessions, made access to preschool programs in long day care centres more affordable than ever before.
“The evidence tells us that two years of preschool programmes are better than just one, and we would like to see the Child Care preschool exemption extended to two years before school,” he said.
“Just 57 per cent of Australian three-year-olds are enrolled in early learning, well below the 90 per cent plus achieved in leading OECD countries including the United Kingdom, Sweden, France and New Zealand.
“The Child Care Subsidy reforms have made child care much more affordable for working families. Now let’s build on those reform to make early learning and preschool more accessible for those children who would benefit from it most,” he said.
To join the campaign for more affordable, quality early learning, visit www.thesmartstart.org.au
Pictured is Prime Minister Scott Morrison visiting Goodstart Miranda last August.